There’s a great deal of variety when it comes to electric toothbrushes, and it can be difficult to sift through the marketing claims to find the best one. We’ll take the guesswork out of choosing the best electric toothbrush by outlining top considerations, including customization, teeth sensitivity, power source, cost and warranty/return policy.
How Customizable is it?
From the most basic electric toothbrush to the one that integrates with your phone, there are features to meet everyone’s needs and preferences. Think about your needs and your budget. If you’re the type of person who needs help brushing your teeth correctly, you might need to make more of an investment. If you’ve got the technique down, you can probably save a little money and choose a no-frills model.
Common electric toothbrush features include:
- Timers: Many toothbrushes have a built-in timer to ensure you brush your teeth for the recommended two minutes. Even better, some models have a quad-pacer that vibrates every thirty seconds to tell you to move to the next quadrant.
- Varying speeds: Different speeds achieve different results, from teeth whitening to plaque removal, so a toothbrush with variable speeds can do more.
- Pressure indicators: Brushing your teeth too hard can damage teeth and gums. Pressure indicators will vibrate or cause the head to stop moving if you’re pushing too hard.
- Phone apps: An app might do everything from track progress, analyze how you’re brushing and give tips or even provide a 3D model of your mouth.
People with sensitive teeth have to be extra careful when choosing the correct toothbrush, so each brushing session doesn’t end in pain. Oscillating toothbrushes are typically a better pick than sonic toothbrushes because they have slower movements. The quick pace of sonic toothbrushes can sometimes be irritating to those with sensitive teeth.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the brush head, specifically the bristles. The ADA recommends soft bristles for all types of teeth, but especially for people with sensitive teeth.
Brushing pressure is also important for sensitive teeth. Look for a toothbrush with a pressure sensor to let you know if you’re pressing too hard. Some will vibrate, stop moving or light up to less you know to ease off. A toothbrush with a phone app might also be helpful in tracking your brushing progress to see why your teeth might be more sensitive at some times than others.
Battery Powered vs. Charger
Electric toothbrushes typically get their power one of two ways: batteries or a charging station that plugs into the wall. Both types tend to work equally well, and the type you choose depends on your preference. Battery-powered toothbrushes tend to be more portable, but you do have to remember to change the batteries.
Toothbrushes with charging stations don’t need to be plugged in all the time, but it’s important to find out how long the toothbrush can last on a single charge. Times typically vary between one and three weeks.
Electric toothbrushes come in a wide range of prices depending on the features they include. Think about your budget and your needs before running out to buy one. It’s quite possible to get an electric toothbrush for under $100. Most include basic features, like a timer, and probably come with at least one replacement brush head. If you’re looking for a toothbrush that cleans well but don’t need additional features, stick with something in the $50 to $100 range.
If you’ve had trouble brushing your teeth properly in the past, or simply like the idea of more customization, you may be looking to spend between $100 and $250. Variable brush modes tend to drive up the cost, and bluetooth capability is somewhat pricey. More expensive brushes may come with added accessories that justify their higher cost, including extra brush heads or travel chargers. Be sure to investigate the features that matter most to you and determine which are necessary and which are just nice to have. And remember that regardless of price, most electric toothbrushes last about 3 to 5 years.
Warranty and Return Policy
Especially if you’re investing in an electric toothbrush with a hefty price tag, you’ll want to ensure your purchase is protected. Most toothbrushes come with a 2-year limited warranty. That generally means that manufacturing defects are covered under the warranty, but damage from regular use is not. Make sure you inspect your toothbrush when you first get it so no issues slip through the cracks.
It’s also important to make sure the toothbrush you purchase has a return policy. Many can be returned within a 30-day window, but be sure to check and see if there are any restrictions. Some companies also offer some sort of money-back guarantee with longer windows, but it may be difficult to take advantage of these. Either way, keep your receipt until you know you’re fully satisfied.
Most of us brush our teeth before bed, but we don’t often think about the connection between oral health and sleep. The truth is, several studies have shown that oral hygiene plays a significant role in sleep health. In fact, one study found that subjects who reported poor dental health had increased sleep disturbances. But why?
Perhaps the most obvious way that oral hygiene and sleep are connected is that those of us who take care of our teeth also tend to take care of ourselves in other ways. Put differently, if we have a routine and take the time to brush and floss our teeth before bed, it’s probably because we’re going to bed at a reasonable hour. If you’re constantly working late into the night before collapsing into bed, you’re probably not brushing your teeth as well as you should, if at all.
Poor oral hygiene can also lead to issues that will keep you up at night. Pain related to cavities may keep you tossing and turning. If you haven’t sought treatment for sensitive teeth, you may experience headaches that make it difficult to fall asleep. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to periodontal disease, or gum disease, which has been known to raise blood sugar. Blood sugar that isn’t controlled will disrupt sleep.
And finally, there are conditions that can negatively affect both dental health and sleep health. Teeth grinding and clenching, if left unchecked, can lead to tooth damage and restless sleep.